EXHIBITION | 17 Jan - 30 Mar | Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam
For this exhibition guest curator and artist Sara Blokland has assembled a group of fellow artists whose visual work and research interrogates the histories of the Caribbean region.
IDENTITIES – Contemporary Caribbean perspectives incorporates new and existing work by four artists who draw inspiration from their Dutch-Caribbean backgrounds: Kevin Osepa, Quinsy Gario, Rachel Morón and Sara Blokland.
Image: Kevin Osepa, BLOU BLOUS
The emergence of colonial narratives within the museum
Guest curator and visual artist Sara Blokland (1969, Netherlands) is an independent researcher into photography. Rather than focusing on the content of museum collections, her work zooms in on that which is excluded. Through photographs, museum props and letters she examines the development of colonial narratives in a museum context.
Representations of colonial and post-colonial history
Through her research and visual art, Blokland reflects on the complex role played by photography in mediating colonial and post-colonial histories. In the IDENTITIES exhibition Blokland will be showing two new works. These meditate on the role of the museum as producer of ‘culture’ and zoom in on the representation of colonial and post-colonial histories.
About the artist
Blokland studied at Amsterdam’s Rietveld Academy (BA in photography) and the Sandberg Institute (MFA) before going on to gain an MA in film and photographic studies at Leiden University. Her work has been shown in Seoul’s Kumho Museum of Art, Gallery Lmak-projects in New York, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum for modern art and the Arnhem Museum of Modern Art. Artworks by Blokland have been acquired by various private and public collections, such as the ABN AMRO Collection, the Rabobank Collection, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Kunstmuseum in The Hague. Blokland was also photographer and editor for the book Van Waarde [‘Of Value’] (2008), and a publication about the Surinam police band (2009). In 2012 she initiated and co-edited the book Unfixed: Photography and Post-Colonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art.
Identities of Afro-Caribbean youth in a post-colonial world
The work of photographer and filmmaker Kevin Osepa (1994, Curaçao) is concerned primarily with the identities of young Afro-Caribbeans. A world in which the reality of daily life and the magical world of the Caribbean religion Brua co-exist. Among others, IDENTITIES features his film Watamula and his installation Riku. In these works, Osepa links these two worlds to ideas about masculinity and gender in Dutch society and society in Curaçao.
The themes he explores often have their roots in his autobiography but reach out to contemporary social issues around collective identity and the role of gender. As part of the IDENTITIES exhibition Osepa shows three different works in which he reflects on the role of religion, masculinity and gender perceptions.
About the artist
Osepa graduated from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht in 2017 and was nominated for the Steenbergen Stipendium and the ING Award. Various articles on his work have been published in national newspapers such as Trouw and Volkskrant Magazine. In 2018 he became the youngest artist ever to be nominated for the prestigious Volkskrant Art Prize.
Reflection on Jewish-Caribbean family history
Through her work visual artist, author and image researcher Rachel Morón (1995, Curaçao) reflects on her Jewish-Caribbean family history. In two striking collages using photographs from family albums from Curaçao and New York, audio recordings about Yiddish letters and material from her personal archive, Morón reflects on a history of antisemitism, flight and building up a new life in the Caribbean.
About the artist
Through writing, photography and research, Morón looks critically at the systems in which narratives and family histories are told and recorded, focusing on themes such as identity and self-representation. In the IDENTITIES exhibition Morón shows work in which she further explores her family histories. Her work deals with how they fled rising antisemitism in 20th century Europe and ended up in a colonial society. Rachel Morón gained her photography BA at Utrecht’s Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in 2017 and is currently studying for her MA at the Eindhoven Design Academy’s Design Curating and Writing programme.
Performance poet and visual artist Quinsy Gario (1984, Curaçao) focuses on ‘decolonial remembering’. In IDENTITIES Gario shows two installations in which he combines objects from the museum collection with films and objects he collected personally in Curaçao, St.Maarten and elsewhere. In these works, he focuses on the violent colonial relations and how and by whom knowledge is passed on down the generations.
Decolonial remembering and disruption
Quinsy Gario (1984, St Maarten) is a visual artist and poet. In his work he focuses on decolonial remembering and disruption. His most well-known work is ‘Black Pete is Racism’, in which he critically examines how much is generally known about the racist Dutch practice of ‘Zwarte Piet’ featuring people dressed up in blackface. For the IDENTITIES exhibition Gario developed two new works in which he takes a fresh look at colonial and decolonial systems. In these works his critique focuses on how we acquire knowledge and how we pass on stories and crafts to subsequent generations.
About the artist
Gario read Gender Studies at the University of Utrecht and gained his Master in Artistic Research at the Royal Academy in The Hague. Gario is winner of the Royal Academy Master Thesis Prize 2017, the 2016 Black Excellence Award, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival Silver Award 2015 and the Dutch Caribbean Pearly Community Pearl Award 2014 and the Hollandse Nieuwe 12 Theatre Makers Prize 2011. He is a member of the pan-African artists’ collective State of L3, was a BAK-fellow in 2017/2018 and a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow. He is currently a researcher with Brussels-based Advanced Performance And Scenography Studies.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the "Imagining the Nation in the Classroom" project (University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, University of St. Martin), funded by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).